Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister Taro Kono
Tuesday, August 29, 2017, 3:25 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I held a telephone talk with Ms. Kang Kyung-wha, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea (ROK), for approximately 20 minutes. During this telephone talk, Minister Kang stated we are in an extremely grave situation and that the ROK shares the insecurity that the Japanese people must have felt this morning as a result of this circumstance. We agreed on the need for not only the full implementation of the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions but also adopting a UNSC resolution that includes even stricter sanctions. We agreed that we will be in close communication to deal with the issue of North Korean missiles.
Reporter: To the extent possible, please share with us what you said to Minister Kang.
Minister Kono: I stated that the flight of a missile over Japan represents a highly grave situation and that the fact that the Japanese people were awoken early in the morning by this act is a very difficult circumstance. Minister Kang responded with the words that I mentioned earlier. I also stated that, in any case, Japan, the United States, and the ROK must work in firm solidarity to address the situation, and that the international community needs to continue to firmly apply pressure on North Korea until it seeks dialogue. Minister Kang expressed her agreement to this.
Reporter: I understand that the meeting lasted for about 20 minutes, but at what time did it start?
Minister Kono: At 3 p.m.
Reporter: I believe you have now held telephone talks with the foreign ministers of the United States and the ROK. What are your thoughts on holding telephone talks with the foreign ministers of China and Russia?
Minister Kono: We will of course seek the adoption of a UNSC resolution and, before that, the holding of an emergency meeting of the UNSC, and we intend to work closely together with permanent and non-permanent members in doing so. Besides this, we intend to seek cooperation wherever necessary.
Reporter: I have a question regarding independent sanctions. It seems that some in the ROK share the view that the independent sanctions being implemented by the ROK only encourage companies to take actions and are not in step with the independent sanctions of the United States and Japan. Do you think the ROK’s independent sanctions are adequate at this point in time?
Minister Kono: Minister Kang noted that the ROK is steadily implementing independent sanctions and will continue to put pressure on North Korea. I understand that the ROK is taking appropriate measures.
Reporter: You mentioned earlier that it was a grave situation. Today the Prime Minister used the expression, “unprecedented, grave and serious threat.” I believe missiles launched by North Korea have flown over Japan a few times in the past. What does the Government consider as an unprecedented, grave and serious threat?
Minister Kono: It seems that North Korea’s miniaturization of nuclear weapons has made progress. Furthermore, the use of larger engines in North Korean missiles is becoming a reality. In this sense, I must say that they pose a considerably larger threat compared to previous years.